Royals End Walleye Win Streak, Nagle Becomes ECHL's 2nd All-Time Winningest Goalie in Road-Trip Opener
Toledo, OH - The Reading Royals (36-21-4-0), proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, defeated the Toledo Walleye (41-16-4-2), 4-2, on Friday, March 24 at the Huntington Center. The Royals opened their three-game road-trip with their fourth-straight win over Toledo. Pat Nagle (16-5-0) saved 40 of 42 shots faced to earn his 218th ECHL career win. With his fifth consecutive win, Nagle became the league's second all-time leading goaltender for wins. Nagle is now 47 wins shy of matching Nick Vitucci for the all-time lead for wins among goaltenders in the ECHL (265). Sebastian Cossa suffered the loss in net for Toledo with 18 saves on 22 shots faced (23-14-0).
Paliani scored the game's opening goal 4:40 into the first period to put Reading in front early into regulation with his first of two goals in the game. Paliani intercepted a pass at center ice from Sam Craggs and beat Cossa on a breakaway with a wrist shot snapped past the netminder glove-side.
Toledo answered back to tie the score before the end of the first period. With 1:15 left in the period, Jake Willets blasted a one-timer past Nagle for the his first goal of his professional career. Despite the Walleye registering a game-high 16 shots on goal in the second period, the score remained tied after 40 minutes, 1-1.
Reading's offense jolted out to a two-goal lead on goals scored by Alec Butcher and Tyler Heidt 2:18 apart from one another. Butcher and Heidt each earned an assist on each other's goals to capture multi-point games in the road win. The goal and assist earned Butcher his ninth multi-point game of the season and ninth point in his last four games (3g-6a). Heidt earned his third consecutive multi-point game to improve his point streak to four games.
The Walleye drew the score to a one-goal differential with a power play goal on one of their three power play opportunities in the game. Brendon Hawkins scored his team-leading 12th power play goal of the season on a shot that sprung off of the glass behind Nagle's net and deflected from Colin Felix's leg into the back of Reading's net.
Paliani put the game out of reach for a Walleye comeback with his second goal of the game in the final five minutes of regulation. The two-goal game was Paliani's second in his last four contests and third multi-goal game overall this season.
The Royals were outshot by the Walleye with 22 shots to Toledo's 42 in the game. Reading earned their seventh win in their last eight meetings with the Walleye and improved to a 7-0 record when tied with opponents after two periods on the road this season.
The Royals conclude their three-game road-trip in Wheeling with back-to-back games against the Nailers on Saturday, March 25 at 7:10 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 at 4:10 p.m. at WesBanco Arena.
The Royals return home on Wednesday, March 29 to host the Adirondack Thunder at 7:00 p.m. at Santander Arena. The home game features a Wild Wednesdays promotional game.
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